The Finnish telecom watchdog, Traficom, re-started consultation on SMP regulation in the DTT market on 3 September 2020. The draft SMP decision was originally published in March but Traficom suspended the hearing in May due to certain weaknesses in the documentation. For example, the documentation did not include all the necessary material to review Traficom’s reasoning in setting the fair rate of return. During the extra few months Traficom has amended and fine-tuned the documentation in several ways but the key conclusions have remained intact. In Traficom’s view, Digita continues to have SMP in:
- National TV transmission services
- National FM transmission services
- Access to FM antenna capacity
The new draft can be regarded as somewhat softer on Digita than the version published in March. Most importantly, price ceiling regulation introduced in March has been amended to provide Digita with extra flexibility. First, in case capacity remains underutilised, Digita is allowed to increase prices to compensate for higher unit costs (as long as the utilisation rate does not fall below 84 %). Further, Digita is allowed to include bigger station buildings in the cost base. Price ceiling regulation applies only in TV multiplex A.
Regarding the FM part in the regulation, the new draft would seem to narrow the scope of the regulation. Remedies set for both FM transmission and access to antenna capacity are defined to apply in nation-wide services only. It is difficult to say if this is a material change or merely a clarification in the text but, in any case, in comparison to the current regulation barriers to entry by alternative FM network players would likely become higher.
The consultation runs until 16 October 2020.